In 2017, there were 624,000 international students in Australia representing 194 nationalities, with the majority studying in higher education institutions.
Universities Australia marked the milestone with a series of short videos with international students from countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Kenya, China and Indonesia.
Universities Australia’s Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said the fact that so many international students elect to study here is testament to the quality of our higher education system.
“They’re choosing to come to Australia in record numbers for a world-class higher education, the lifestyle, and our safe and welcoming communities,” Ms Robinson said.
“This is something about which all Australians can be proud,” she said.
“Australia’s international education offerings started out in the 1950s as essentially a small-scale international friendship program.”
“Now it’s grown to be our nation’s third largest export sector and it is incredibly important to our diplomatic, political, trade and business connections around the world.”
Ms Robinson said every student who came here was a potential ambassador for Australia when they returned to their home countries.
“Behind the statistics are more than half a million stories of students forging a personal connection with Australia, and who we hope will gain new familiarity and great affection for our country,” she said.
“Those people-to-people links are so important for Australia’s relationships in the region, and it gives Australian students the benefit of a truly global perspective in their education.”
“These videos feature our international students talking about the things they’ve loved about studying in Australia, and why they’d recommend it to others.”
Beyond the vast cultural, social and personal value to Australia, the education of international students also generated more than $30.9 billion in export income in 2017.
Watch the #1inHalfaMillion videos here.